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Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Bonnie and Clyde may be the most notorious--and celebrated--outlaw couple America has ever known. This is the true story of how they got that way.

Bonnie and Clyde: we've been on a first name basis with them for almost a hundred years. Immortalized in movies, songs, and pop culture references, they are remembered mostly for their storied romance and tragic deaths. But what
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Viking Children's Books
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Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well written YA book on the early 1930s criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The book tells of their childhoods of utter deprivation and poverty, not much of an education, no job skills and the country that was in a depression making things really really difficult.

Their crimes were outlined including very short bios of their victims and book ended with a 'what happened to ' of their family members and the posse of men who killed them while they were in their stolen car.

Pretty good !
Let's blow the lid off of what people think they know about Bonnie and Clyde and what pop culture tells us! That's how I liken Blumenthal's idea for this book. Evident in her collected resources and source notes, she shares a fantastic narrative nonfiction sharing the fascination the public had and has with the team but also the truth behind the stories. And when there isn't a truth to settle on, she shares in a text box of fact or fiction for us to make up our minds (though in most of her writi ...more
Richie Partington
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Richie’s Picks: BONNIE AND CLYDE: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND by Karen Blumenthal, Viking, August 2018, 256p., ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

“The road gets dimmer and dimmer;
Sometimes you can hardly see;
But it’s fight, man to man
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free”
-- from “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by Bonnie Parker

“G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S
We flying the first class
Up in the sky
Poppin’ champagne
Livin’ my life
In the fast lane
And I won’t change
For the glamorous”
-- Ferg
I found this book to be a compelling tale of two people who made some really bad decisions that lead eventually to their deaths. I'd heard of Bonnie and Clyde before, who hasn't? But I knew very little about them. This book answered many of my questions. Did it answer all of my questions? No, but then again no book can do that seeing as their is no way to completely know and understand Bonnie and Clyde's motivations. Blumenthal does an excellent job though of giving as clear a picture as possibl ...more
Kelly Hager
Like pretty much everybody, I'm a huge fan of the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. And also like pretty much everybody, that was about all I knew about them. (At least until I read this.)

This is a good introduction to Bonnie and Clyde, but even if you're familiar with the movie, this is still a great read. There are pictures of them and their families, plus a picture of the car, post-shootout. (There's a picture of a bandaged Blanche and and a picture of a bandaged-and-very-injured Buck, but neither
Since this book was not sensationalized it was a bit boring considering the notorious nature of the couple. Well written and well researched. I liked the incorporation of Bonnie’s poetry, it humanized her, despite the matter of factness of the text.
Scott Townley
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book truly deromanticized the legend of the depression era mobster pair, Bonnie and Clyde, for me. They spend months on the run, sleeping in cars, desperately staying one step ahead of the law, robbing gas stations for relatively small change just to keep themselves going. I love the way Blumenthal structures the book by matching the chapters to excerpts from Bonnie's rhyming ballad, "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde". Who knew that Bonnie captured, so fluently and poignantly, the essence of h ...more
Pablo Glatz
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I chose this book after seeing a new Netflix movie about the Texas Ranger that killed Bonnie & Clyde. I thought it was a good movie with solid performances and a story that I hadn’t heard before. I mean, I knew Bonnie & Clyde were famous bandits, but beyond that I was clueless about their story. Well, I was impressed to see how the outlaws were seen as celebrities by part of the United States population. I just couldn’t understand how two cold-blooded killers could be idolized. That’s why I look ...more
First sentence from the prologue: Bonnie and Clyde. For decades, they've been as famous as any pair of outlaws could be. They're the ones who adored fast cars and faster living. The dangerous young couple with undying love for each other.

First sentence from chapter one: In truth, Bonnie Parker was just messing around the day her most famous photo was taken.

Premise/plot: Karen Blumenthal has written a biography of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow for teens. She explores how two poverty-stricken tee
Read for Librarian Book Group

A great example of why people of all ages should be reading nonfiction books written for a young adult audience. From the first first sentence, this book is readable and engaging. I loved how it translated things of yesterday into today's terms. This happens most often with prices of things, but also now I know that a Model A car was approximately the same width as a Ford Focus.

Bluemnthal carefully illustrates the outlaws' story from different angles, taking time to
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bonnie and Clyde are perhaps the most notorious and celebrated outlaw couple in American history. They've been the feature of poems, films, plays, songs, and more. Karen Blumenthal works to separate fact from fiction in her book. She begins with who they were, how they met, and what they did and did not do. Blumenthal also writes about how the couple got to be the pop culture icons they are today.

I really like how Blumenthal gave space to all of the victims murdered by Bonnie and Clyde. Humani
Hope Harbeck
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What can I say about this book? Fascinating, interesting, informative, very well researched and I could go on and on. Before reading this book, my knowledge of Bonnie & Clyde was from the 1967 movie which I saw when I was 13 or 14. This book was enlightening. I had no idea how desperate living conditions were for people living in West Dallas, no running water, no electricity, etc. My parents grew up during the depression and told me stories about it, but they at least had running water and ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The legend of Bonnie and Clyde has been romanticized over the years. In truth, they were involved in murders and robberies and destruction of property. Their entire families were involved in hiding them and lying for them. They slept in their stolen cars for months and were scarred and battered from the many shoot outs and wrecks they were involved in. The story is fascinating, but it is also sobering to learn the names and backgrounds of police officers and others that died at their hands. This ...more
Although at times this feels a little repetitive, it is because that's the story of Bonnie and Clyde. Blumenthal offers up the history of both of these infamous criminals, but she does so with the backdrop of why it is they've gained such infamy and acclaim while committing heinous crimes. Interspersed are not only photos and other artifacts, but there are excellent pulled out short bios of those who were murdered by the duo. The book isn't sensationalized and that's a topic addressed right in t ...more
Abbie Lemieux
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t really like nonfiction books but this one was very enjoyable. I was already very intrigued by the lives of Bonny and Clyde but this book took it to a new level. I like how it was written and their lives were described like a fairytale. I also love how for each chapter there was a part of a poem Bonny wrote. Overall very enjoyable book that I highly recommend for fans of Bonny and Clyde and biographies in general.
Halle White
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book! I absolutely loved the way that the book told the story and how detailed it was! Would highly recommend for anyone interested in the couple's story.
Sherry Guice
I don't think of myself as an avid reader of nonfiction--this book was wonderful. I learned a lot and couldn't put the book down. I think young adult readers will also enjoy this story.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On one January night in 1930, a young Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow when he showed up to visit one of her friends at their house. It was love at first sight when the aspiring actress and writer Bonnie met eyes with the skilled and charming Clyde Barrow. The two were completely taken with each other, but their relationship was far from ordinary.

As their love for each other blossomed, so did their involvement with the law.

Bonnie and Clyde were criminals.

For four years, Bonnie and Clyde worked tog
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I learned a few things about them that I didn’t know which was interesting.
Mary-Esther Lee
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Well-written and extensively researched, this is a highly readable novel that deglamorizes the notorious couple.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
You've read the story of Jesse James
of how he lived and died.
If you're still in need;
of something to read,
here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

You might think you know the story of Bonnie and Clyde--the love struck couple who went on a crime spree throughout Texas in the 1930s. Over the years they have been immortalized in stories, songs, and on film.

Thanks to the advent of photography, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were documented in newspapers which printed Bonnie's poetry left behind after a
" Romanticized or vilified, criticized or admired, Bonnie and Clyde remain legendary-no longer for who they were, but for who we want them to be."

Before reading this book, I have been obsessed with Bonnie and Clyde for as long as I can remember, mainly due to how the media portrays them. This book illustrates the couple in their true form-criminals- and gives an interesting account using a variety of different sources to further enhance the authors claim.
The book gives a timeline of the even
Ashley Urquhart
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know very much about Bonnie and Clyde before reading this book. The author does a really good job throughout helping the reader to see what parts of their story is known as fact, what is believed to be true, and what is complete myth. Newspapers at the time weren’t super concerned with reporting that absolute truth and were more interested in the drama that was inherent with Bonnie and Clyde. A lot of times if something went down and the cops couldn’t figure out who it was, the newspape ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: american history, true crime, teens
I'm not massively into Bonnie and Clyde, except for a possible distant relationship to Bonnie, so I was pleasantly surprised with how engaging this book is. Blumenthal did a lot of research and that is very clear with the narrative she presents. She is also clear that there are some things that will just never be known, so we can only speculate. She does a great job of pointing out the different biases in all of the sources she used. I appreciate that.

This book is aimed at teen readers. High sc
I grew up in Oak Cliff which is across the Trinity River from Dallas - close to where the Barrows and the Parkers called home. In high school, one popular weekend activity was to visit the grave of Buck and Clyde, the Barrow brothers. They were buried in a cemetery near a popular overlook of downtown Dallas. This was in the early 1970s. On the heels of the popular movie released in the late 1960s, they were still idolized to a certain extent.
Everyone had a Bonnie and Clyde story. Relatives that
Laney Nielson
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Karen Blumenthal's meticulously researched account of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker is a gripping, page-turning read that will not only appeal to its intended audience of young people but anyone interested in this notorious couple. Readers are taken along as Clyde and Bonnie traverse the midsection of the country, committing crimes. Blumenthal glorifies none of it. By including an obituary for each of their victims, the dead are honored and the reader is reminded of the devastating impact of Bo ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Desperate criminals or just young people who made bad choices? The story of outlaw legends Bonnie and Clyde. Very engaging. Well researched, seems to have done a very good job distinguishing between the legends and the facts. Made me sad to think about if they had been born at a different time if he would have become something else - her too, really. Interesting how the book refers to them always as Clyde and Bonnie; it is her poem that has turned them into the legend that we know as Bonnie and ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blumenthal pulls out all the stops in this stirring, factual, and extremely well researched, story of the rise and fall of Bonnie and Clyde. These well know outlaws are carefully tracked as the details of their crime sprees and murders from the Depression era to their own dramatic deaths in 1934 are laid forth in full detail for readers. Read the rest of my review on my blog "You decide: Should I read it or not?": https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

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Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite the fact that Clyde Barrow was a bumbling criminal, he continued his crime spree from the late 1920’s to the mid 1930’s because the authorities were even less prepared than Bonnie and Clyde.
I enjoyed this quick-paced young adult biography of the infamous pair of criminals. The book gave an excellent historical slant of southwestern and midwestern hard times. Texas was a particularly poor and dangerous place to live due to the Great Depression. Clyde Barrows, with Bonnie Parker’s help, fo
Ms. Jackson
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A possible theme for this book is that crime doesn't pay. Bonnie and Clyde committed many crimes in a short period of time, and they are kind of legendary for it. Some people even considered them to have folk hero status; however, the book talks about times they were hurt horribly and couldn't get help or how they missed their families or how they had to live out of whatever car they had stolen. It doesn't seem like such a good life. So even though they had stolen money and could buy anything th ...more
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Karen Blumenthal is a critically acclaimed author of narrative nonfiction for young people, who is fascinated by controversial subjects and social change. Her books include Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different; Tommy: The Gun that Changed America; Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History, and Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX. Her books have won a Sibert Honor and a Jane Addams Childre ...more

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